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Bawa  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Aïmeri people of the Watsa Gombari region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The string is sometimes coupled (braced) to the bow stave by a cord that divides the string into two unequal segments, thus obtaining two different pitches when the segments are plucked by the fingers; the bracing cord itself can also be plucked....

Article

Baya  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Side-blown animal horn or ivory horn of the Zande people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ivory examples have a carved lozenge-shaped embouchure. All have a fingerhole in the tip. The term also refers to a composite side-blown horn of the Zande, made of ivory and wood, also with a similar embouchure and a fingerhole in the tip....

Article

Francis Dhomont

(b Tamatave, Madagascar, April 27, 1932). French composer. He studied in Bordeaux (1946–54), at the Paris Conservatoire, where his teachers included Messiaen (1958–9), and at the Darmstadt summer courses (1960–62) with Stockhausen, among others. In 1960 he joined the Service de la Recherche of ORTF, recently established by Pierre Schaeffer, and took part in the ...

Article

Baza  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Xylophone of the Gobu people in the Ubangi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has 5 to 10 bars lying on braids of vegetable fibre that isolate the bars from the frame, which is made from two boards linked by a semi-circular wooden bar that forms a handle. The calabash resonators can have a hole in the side, covered by a thin membrane (mirliton) of fish bladder, spider web, or cigarette paper to add a buzz to the sound, a magical practice by which the player contacts the gods....

Article

Bazara  

Stamping tube of the Shambala people of Tanzania.

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Gregory F. Barz

(b Douala, Cameroon, July 16, 1929; d Paris, May 28, 2001). Cameroonian composer, writer and musician. He studied mathematics in Douala and continued to study English at the Sorbonne, Paris, and is perhaps best known for his comprehensive guide to African music, first published in French as ...

Article

Beganna  

Ronald Lah and Stéphanie Weisser

Lyre of the Christian Amhara of central and northern Ethiopia. The most carefully crafted of Amhara string instruments, the beganna is noteworthy for its ornately sculpted crossbar and engraved arms. Its soundbox (gebeti) is either a square-face wooden bowl or an open box shaped as a truncated square pyramid, made of plywood in recent instruments. The open face is covered with untanned cattle skin sewn at the back of the soundbox. The ten sheep- or cattle-gut strings are bound with tuning levers and twisted around the crossbar. Their opposite ends are attached to a tailpiece held by two leather strips inserted through incisions in the skin head and fastened inside the soundbox. A hole, often shaped as a cross, pierces the back of the soundbox. The ...

Article

Bel  

Set of seven stopped end-blown flutes of different sizes of the Angas people of Nigeria. The pipes are made from river reeds and blown in hocket by young men on social and ceremonial occasions.

See Stopped flute ensemble.

Article

Gregory F. Barz

(b Democratic Republic of the Congo). Congolese singer and performer. Formerly a singer with Tabu Ley Rochereau’s band Afrisa International during the 1980s, Bel began her career as a dancer for Abeti Masekini, an important early singer in the Zaïrean popular tradition. While Bel’s earlier performances and recordings, especially those made with Rochereau, are firmly rooted in the heavily guitar-driven Zaïrean ...

Article

Bele  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Side-blown antelope horn of the Sango in the Ubangi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The horn has a fingerhole in the tip and a rectangular embouchure.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi (Tervuren, 1960), 179–81.

Article

Term occasionally applied to West African harps with half-gourd resonator held to the player’s stomach. The gourd can be moved away from or pressed against the belly to alter the sound.

Article

Amanda Villepastour

Double-headed cylindrical drum of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria. One or both skins have snares and one head is struck with a curved stick held by the right hand while the left hand presses on the other skin to regulate the tone. The largest bẹ̀m̀bẹ́...

Article

Bendre  

Rainer Polak

Kettledrum of Gur-speaking peoples (Mossi, Sisala, Mamprusi, and others) in Burkina Faso and northern Ghana. It is an almost spherical calabash with a small goat- or antelope-skin head, tuned with black adhesive paste at the center. It is beaten by the hands. The player either stands with the drum suspended from his neck or sits on the ground. Often metal plaques with rings along the edges are attached to the instrument creating a jingling sound. The ...

Article

Bene  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Sango people in the Ubangi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a carved wooden resonator fitted under an ovoid soundboard, and seven to ten wooden tongues.

J.S. Laurenty: Les sanza du Congo (Tervuren, 1962), 192.

Article

Beng  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Fang people of Gabon. It accompanies songs of the shamans of the Eboghe society.

Article

Benga  

Gregory F. Barz

Term used in Kenya to refer to a variety of popular music forms. It is used in particular to refer to a style of music that emerged in the 1960s among the Luo people in the area surrounding Lake Victoria in western Kenya. Kikuyu and Kamba musicians also developed regional variations of ...

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Transverse flute of the Nzakara people of the Central African Republic. It has two fingerholes and is used during hunting and to accompany dancing.

Article

Benin  

Gilbert Rouget

Country in West Africa. Its frontiers, which cover an area of 112,622 km² and which result from the colonial partition of Africa at the end of the 19th century, do not correspond to any natural boundaries. With a population of 622 million (2000 estimate), the country groups together a number of peoples among whom there was no sort of unity before their conquest. Lying north to south, Benin extends from the Niger to the Atlantic and forms a perpendicular cut through both the climatic zones and the West African societies that run from east to west, parallel to the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. From north to south, one moves progressively from dry, sparsely populated tropical regions to humid, densely populated equatorial regions. In the north-west a mountain massif that straddles Togo and Benin constitutes a region of its own....

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Cape Town, South Africa, Oct 17, 1936). South African singer. The name Sathima, which means “person with a kind heart,” was given to her by Johnny Dyani and was originally spelled Satima. She sang standards and show tunes in local groups as a teenager and was performing professionally by the late 1950s. From ...

Article

Christian Poché

(b Fès, June 6, 1897; d Casablanca, 1982). Moroccan musicologist. Born into a wealthy merchant's family, he began work as a trader, and founded his own company. He settled in Casablanca, where he studied Islamic hymnology, the piano and the ‘ūd. In 1958...